Highland Park ISD teachers and staff get 1 percent salary increases and one-time payments in the approved district budget for 2018-19, as property tax bills rise nearly 8 percent and the district’s recapture bill to the state skyrockets.
Trustees approved an overall budget of $194.8 million, including $28.3 million for debt service and a payment to the state of $103.7 million for recapture — money shifted from property-rich districts under the state’s “Robin Hood” school finance plan to help fund property-poor ones.
With this year’s nine-figure recapture payment, HPISD will have sent approximately $1.5 billion back to the state since 1991 – the third largest amount from any district in the state. HPISD sent $76 million to the state in 2016, $82 million in 2017, and $97 million in 2018.
After the payment, HPISD will have an operating budget of approximately $62.7 million, said Mike White, assistant superintendent of business services for the district.
This year’s overall tax rate of $1.2355 per $100 of property valuation is slightly more than a year ago because debt service payments have increased from about $23.2 million in the prior fiscal year.
Officials said $1.04 per $100 of the tax rate — the same as the prior year — will go towards the district’s general fund. The portion of the tax rate going to debt is $0.1955, up from $0.1632.
Property valuations have increased. The average home in the district has $1.51 million of taxable value, up from $1.44 million a year ago. Property taxes on the average home will be $18,701.12, an increase of $1,362.48.
“Our administration and staff have done an excellent job making the necessary adjustments to this budget,” said Jim Hitzelberger, board president. “It is, once again, supplemented by the extraordinary amount of time and donations that the community contributes to our schools.”
In addition to the 1 percent raise, a one-time payment of $1,000 will go to all certified teachers and professional staff members. Hourly employees will receive a $500 one-time payment.
Hitzelberger said he’s hopeful that state representatives will address recapture more in the future.
“We are hopeful that our Texas lawmakers will significantly and adequately address school finance for all districts this coming session,” he said. “More districts than ever are being forced to pay recapture.”